In Anita’s Wake - The Irrational War On Florida’s Gay Families
ACLU presents stories of gay couples who’ve adopted in effort to educate
Martin Gill’s usual morning concern these days is getting his kids ready to go to school - no longer worried and wrapped up in legal battles over whether they’ll be coming back home.
But while Gill’s battle was fought and won, overturning in September 2010 a ban on gay adoption in Florida, the ACLU’s director in the state, Howard Simon, foresaw that the issues themselves "are not resolved when the verdict is given."
"We’re not out of the woods until the legislature bangs the gavel and goes home," Simon said.
Along with Gill, Simon was on a panel that also included Elizabeth Schwartz, a Miami-based adoption attorney. It was part of a training event put on by the ACLU on Feb. 2 at University of Miami’s Law School. The Aqua Foundation for Women and multiple other co-sponsors helped put things together.
First item on the bill was the screening of In Anita’s Wake: The Irrational War on Florida’s Gay Families. It told Gill’s story and two other same-sex couples’ adoptive stories, as they were affected by the adoption ban imposed in part by the efforts of Anita Bryant’s - the 1970s orange juice spokesperson turned anti-gay evangelist.
Then the three panelists got together to explain what hardships lay ahead, after which they took questions. Schwartz was the first to speak, and summarized the film in a sentence.
"Now it’s the law of the land in Florida that this ban can’t be approved," she said, adding that judges have loved the slew of adoptions, over a hundred of them, since the ban was overturned.
Since Gill’s kids were given permanency in his home, various claims of their undoing have been debunked.
"When we get home, my 11-year-old son helps me cook. His favorite foods to cook are macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper (we use ground turkey), and pizza," Gill said. "Once they are done [with homework], they like to play YouTube videos and make up dances. They are both talented hip-hop dancers. They like Justin Bieber, Usher, and the Black Eyed Peas."
The kids are asleep by 9 p.m. Weekends include bike-riding at Oleta Park, kayaking or maybe a relaxing stay at the pool they have at home. Regardless, Gill said, the kids play "basketball daily in the front driveway. They are both gifted athletes."